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You may not have heard of positive psychology but is there anyone who hasn’t heard the ‘Happy Song’ and the importance of gratitude?

There has been extensive research that shows a strong association with expressing gratitude and experiencing feelings of wellbeing. Some gratitude interventions are now so well known they are now regularly featured on Facebook walls, as people share their ‘3 things I am happy for today’ and encourage their friends to share the post and share their 3 things too.

Gratitude we are told, can increase our feelings of happiness, self-worth and improve our relationships with others. It seems a simple ‘thank you’ means so much more than simple politeness. If we accept that a little gratitude goes a long way, I’m surprised to see that it appears to be very much absent in the world of business, and not just the corporate world.

The Internet has increased our ability to communicate quickly and efficiently with many people within seconds. Gone are the days when one had to write a letter , ‘Dear Sir/Madam’ and finish with ‘your sincerely’, before placing in an envelope and posting. One might think that this would make it easier to fully communicate with each other but it seems to me that the opposite is the case.

Nowadays it seems acceptable to ignore emails unless they fit a certain criteria. I know of people who have spent time filling in and sending off job applications and never receive an acknowledgement or a reply. Many businesses are run without providing a telephone service so that their customers can only communicate by email and are powerless if and when their enquiries are ignored.

Surely, cost can’t be the excuse – there is not postage, no paper. Is it time then? Even if companies are inundated with job applications, why don’t they send an automated response to say, thank you for spending your time filling in our application form and an automated response to those who are not successful? It wouldn’t be personal no, but it would be a big improvement on being totally ignored. Perhaps, people are just too busy and perhaps I’m simply ‘old-fashioned’ about what my Grandmother would have called ‘simple common manners’.

Rather than spending the evening writing a gratitude journal wouldn’t it be easier if we all took responsibility to respond to our emails? Even when thank you means ‘thanks, but no thanks’?

Lesley Lyle MAPP: Author, Writer, Positive Psychologist, Clinical Hypnotherapist, Associate lecturer, Laughter Facilitator Director Positive Psychology Learning. Follow her on Twitter & Facebook

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